July 22nd, 2013
“Valiant” is defined by the dictionary as an adjective meaning “to possess or show courage and determination.” When a person is “being valiant” they are being lionhearted, fearless, heroic, brave and bold. The Valiant Family who own and operate Valiant Home Remodeling truly knows what it means to “Be Valiant.”
Sixty years ago, Genare Valiant fearlessly opened Valiant Home Remodeling on Roosevelt Avenue in Carteret, N.J., and three generations of the Valiant family have upheld the valiant traditions of their founder.
My friendship with this Valiant generation—Genare Valiant, his brother Michael and their cousin Anthony—started 20 years ago when we met at a manufacturer’s dealer conference. We liked each other immediately, which shouldn’t be surprising, since their story and mine are very similar.
Both the Milanese family and the Valiant family have been in business for more than 50 years. That’s very rare in the home remodeling business, where most businesses fail within five years. The facts that both our companies have continuously used their own family name, stayed in business in the same location and used the same phone number as when their founders first started are all testaments to a firm commitment to craftsmanship and integrity.
Milanese and Valiant are alike in more ways, though. We both respect our clients and recognize they are our employer. We share the same commitment to solving problems for our clients. We offer the same goods and services from many of the same vendors. We develop long and loyal relationships with manufacturers. We counsel, teach and provide for our employees. We have paid our dues.
Beyond all that, the family business was always the fabric of our family life—it held us together, wove stories at our dinner tables and rolled with us wherever we went …
But the Valiant family story is very different from mine, too. My father mentored my brothers and me until his death at the age of 71 after our generation was already well-established. In 1996, Genare and Mike Valiant lost their father at the young age of 54. Mike and Geno were young, too. I remember meeting them like it was yesterday …
They were “Being Valiant.” They were bold and determined to be successful against all odds. They were courageous and brave to take over their family business at such a young age.
In 1997, Geno and Mike started the “Valiant Foundation” to honor their father and to raise money for good causes in their community. The family, through the Valiant Foundation, has heroically raised and donated more than $150,000 to Autism Awareness Advocacy and Cartaret Specials.
Each summer the family hosts a golf tournament called the “Big Guy” shoot out to memorialize their father, Michael, and to raise funds for the Valiant Foundation. Manufacturers, suppliers, dealers, clients and friends get together, but are not permitted to talk business. We have a great time, raise money for a fantastic cause and develop relationships with each other beyond business.
Each of us could learn more about what “Being Valiant” truly means in business—and in life—from the Valiant family.